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Changing user behaviour on the web - what does this mean for the development of online information literacy tools? Williams


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Presented at LILAC 2010

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Changing user behaviour on the web - what does this mean for the development of online information literacy tools? Williams

  1. 1. Changing user behaviour on the web – what does this mean for the development of online information literacy tools? Caroline Williams, Executive Director of Intute and Deputy Director of Mimas
  2. 2. Shall we give up and leave it to Google?
  3. 3. 1. What do we know?: research studies and Mimas market research 2. What can we do?: Mimas’ approach and discussion Overview
  4. 4. IL of young people not improved; little time spent on evaluating information; people have poor understanding of their information needs; difficulties in assessing relevance when faced with a long list of search hits; unsophisticated mental maps of what the Internet is failing to appreciated that it is a collection of networked resources from different providers; search engines become the primary brand associated with the Internet; people do not find library sponsored resources intuitive and prefer to use Google instead: the familiar solution …. [CIBER (2008). Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future] Research reports
  5. 5. “HEIs, colleges and schools treat information literacies as a priority area and support all students so that they are able, amongst other things, to identify, search, locate, retrieve and especially, critically evaluate information from the range of appropriate sources … and organise and use it effectively.” [Committee of Inquiry into the Changing Learner Experience (May 2009). Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World. March 2009.] Research reports
  6. 6. Wider context & national strategies
  7. 7. 1. Project Fusion 2. Intute Web 2.0 3. ViM project 4. Mobile Internet Detective Mimas market research
  8. 8. Project Fusion
  9. 9. Typical research practices (1) “At this stage I’m writing-up. I was trying to find a reference I’d included – missing dates. I looked up the library catalogue.” “I did one on ‘geography and the avant-garde’. Google Scholar was a bit useless – lots of stuff not related to it. Then I went to Web of Knowledge and geography journals and that was better.”
  10. 10. » Google and Google Scholar indispensable » However, other resources are used as appropriate to the nature of the search being undertaken » All vary the way they search and the resources used depending on what they are searching for » ‘centrifugal’ model of information gathering (‘Scholarly Work and the Shaping of Digital Access’; Carole Palmer; 2005) Typical research practices (2)
  11. 11. Resources: General and Specialised – used for different purposes Importance of habit Habits deepen over time Importance of ‘search inside’ Some supervisor influence – especially early on Expectation of direct access online to resources, docs, journals etc. Lack of contact / chances to refresh skills and range of resources used Postgraduate students: ‘private worlds’ Unsophisticated use of ICT No strong desire to change Little personalisation / saving / organisation of searches Constant anxiety about delivering new research Little awareness or usage of alerts (journals, articles etc.) (However…)
  12. 12. » Respondents admitted to variable research skills » Clear lack of confidence evident in some: › Knowledge of relevant resources › Using search-engines (especially optimising keyword search success) » Most admit that there are opportunities to improve skills…but many have not taken advantage of these Satisfaction with ‘research skills’
  13. 13. » Heavy reliance on computers to facilitate research, but not ‘sophisticated’ in the way they use ICT » During discussions, interest was shown in new resources, rather than in new ways of technology-assisted working (with the possible exception of email alerts) Unsophisticated use of ICT
  14. 14. Intute Web 2.0
  15. 15. All audiences in agreement that: » Undergraduate – and sometimes postgraduate – skills in this area are often very limited » Many fall back on bad habits (e.g. Googling everything) » Once habits and patterns are formed – including reliance on particular resources – they are rarely changed » Few opportunities to squeeze proper training and instruction into timetable – and relatively few courses have research skills as an embedded module Internet & research skills
  16. 16. Librarians’, PGs’ and academics’ thoughts on UGs “Typically they don’t get much guidance how to venture wider than their reading list.” (Librarian) “Typically they don’t get much guidance how to venture wider than their reading list.” (Librarian) “It’s nice to get academics who will come to the class or will ask you to do a class just for them and their colleagues.” (Librarian) “It’s nice to get academics who will come to the class or will ask you to do a class just for them and their colleagues.” (Librarian)
  17. 17. Web 2.0 in education » Web 2.0 technologies and approaches have a place, but they should not be adopted simply because the technology exists » Dismissive of many aspects of Web 2.0 technologies or admitted to be novices in their use » Although Facebook was predictably popular, its usage limited to being a way of staying in touch and finding out about social events » Some students spoke of Facebook groups being set up as part of their studies but few if any were heavily reliant on applications of this type
  18. 18. » Not in the habit of ‘rating and commenting’ (for example, on Amazon) and, to an extent were suspicious of those who were » Practical barriers to the adoption of interactive technologies in HE institutions Web 2.0 in education
  19. 19. » Library community is currently trying to work out how to proceed with Web 2.0 technologies » Much interest in how other institutions are using emerging technologies » Apparent that developments are characterised by experimentation with small projects – rather than a co- ordinated and strategic roll-out » A key benefit is that potentially students and lecturers can be in more constant dialogue Web 2.0: Librarian community views
  20. 20. Value for money In automatic Metadata generation (ViM)
  21. 21. » UGs largely ignorant of how to undertake effective internet searches » UGs claimed that their typical practice would be to ‘throw a few key words’ at a search engine and quickly scan the results Common search practices “The more you use [Amazon] the more it gets to understand you.” (PG)
  22. 22. » Fairly subjective process » Varies significantly by discipline » Reliance on the ‘first 10’ results » Preferred two or three lines of description » Other initial ways of quickly evaluating the relevance and potential usefulness of results include: › Checking the url (with, for example, an ‘’ domain being an indicator of a credible resource) › Recognised subject authorities / governing bodies etc. Evaluating search results
  23. 23. » User ratings and reviews have only limited appeal » Disregarded due to: › Who are the users and how can students be certain that relevance is a universal quality? › Propensity to give ratings is not equal across all users. Ratings and reviews
  24. 24. Mobile Internet Detective
  25. 25. “The mobile phone is undoubtedly [a] strong driving force, a behaviour changer…Library users will soon be demanding that every interaction can take place via the cell phone” Mobile use
  26. 26. Internet use “(I use the Internet) for absolutely everything. Why walk to the library if it’s on the Internet. You just flick through it. Your university’s signed up to all these journals and the journals are available to buy but you just look it up on the Internet. You don’t even bother going to the library.” London Focus Group, Female
  27. 27. Views on the mobile Internet ‘‘Mine’s quite bad actually … quite poor so I don’t really use it. I would if it was better, if it actually looked like the Internet pages then I’d probably use it more but at the minute I just do it for emails I really need … but the interface on mine isn’t very good.” Manchester Group, Female.
  28. 28. Shall we give up and leave it to Google?
  29. 29. What steps are we taking? 1. Virtual Training Suite 2. Informs 3. Mobile Mimas 4. Widgets and feeds 5. New search interfaces
  30. 30. Summary “You fall into habits don’t you? … once you fall into a habit it’s difficult to break it”. [Post-graduate student]” “I can’t think of anywhere that would have everything I need. You’re only one click away with Google”. [Post- graduate student]
  31. 31. 1. Does this research match your experience and are there other factors to consider? 2. What implications does this research have – what can we do? 3. What is the impact of changing user behaviour on the development of IL tools and teaching? Discussion questions
  32. 32. » Mimas stand » Contact us